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Locsin mum on day Canada trash scheduled for shipping

/ 07:27 PM May 15, 2019
Red tape stalls return of trash to Canada

BACK TO SENDER The Philippine government expects that the remaining containers of trash from Canada will be returned to that country this month. —PHOTO COURTESY OF MCWM

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. was his usual busy self on Twitter on Tuesday, but he was curiously silent on the supposed return that day to Canada of tons of trash illegally shipped here six years ago.

Locsin did not say why the government did not make good its threat to ship back the garbage to Canada on May 15, as President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered.

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Last week, Locsin was emphatic that 69 shipping containers filled with rotting waste would be loaded on a ship at the Port of Manila and on its way to Toronto by May 15.

The 69 containers were what remained out of the total 103 trash-filled containers shipped in batches to Manila in 2013 and 2014 by an Ontario-based Chronic Inc. and received by its Valenzuela City-based counterpart Chronic Plastics.

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Locsin had vented on Twitter last week that an official of the Department of Finance was trying to delay the return of the shipment but stressed that the May 15 deadline would be met.

He said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Foreign Affairs jad ave successfully negotiated with Canada through Ambassador John Holmes to meet the President’s May 15 deadline.

Canada has reportedly offered to pay for the cost of shipping back the remaining 69 trash-filled containers that have been festering at the Port of Manila since 2013.

The contents of the rest of the containers were dumped in a private landfill in Tarlac in 2015 before local officials discovered this and put a stop to further dumping.

In his tweets last week, Locsin said the President was prepared to end diplomatic relations with Canada if his wish to see the garbage gone by May 15 would not be met.

But Locsin also stressed it was “unimaginable” that the end to 70-year diplomatic ties would be “over garbage” and acknowledged Canada’s “generous” gesture to give asylum to Filipino Vanessa Rodel and her daughter who gave shelter to US fugitive Edward Snowden in 2013.

Chronic Plastics owner Adelfa Eduardo and customs brokers Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon are still undergoing trial for violation of the 1990 Act to Control Toxic Substances and Hazardous Nuclear Waste.

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The three were also charged with violating the tariff and customs code for for illegally importing waste materials from Canada.

On June 30, 2016, Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Tita Alisuag ordered the importers to return the containers of garbage to Canada.

(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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